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Open Access Research

Ambulatory monitoring of activity levels of individuals in the sub-acute stage following stroke: a case series

William H Gage134*, Karl F Zabjek123, Kathryn M Sibley12, Ada Tang12, Dina Brooks12 and William E McIlroy135

Author Affiliations

1 Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, 550 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2A2, Canada

2 Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7, Canada

3 Centre for Stroke Recovery, Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M5, Canada

4 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

5 Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2007, 4:41  doi:10.1186/1743-0003-4-41

Published: 26 October 2007

Abstract

Background

There is an important need to better understand the activities of individual patients with stroke outside of structured therapy since this activity is likely to have a profound influence on recovery. A case-study approach was used to examine the activity levels and associated physiological load of patients with stroke throughout a day.

Methods

Activities and physiologic measures were recorded during a continuous 8 hour period from 4 individuals in the sub-acute stage following stroke (ranging from 49 to 80 years old; 4 to 8 weeks post-stroke) in an in-patient rehabilitation hospital.

Results

Both heart rate (p = 0.0207) and ventilation rate (p < 0.0001) increased as intensity of activity increased. Results revealed individual differences in physiological response to daily activities, and large ranges in physiological response measures during 'moderately' and 'highly' therapeutic activities.

Conclusion

Activity levels of individuals with stroke during the day were generally low, though task-related changes in physiologic measures were observed. Large variability in the physiological response to even the activities deemed to be greatest intensity suggests that inclusion of such extended measurement of physiologic measures may improve understanding of physiological profile that could guide elements of the physical therapy prescription.